Basalt fiber is one of the most common alternatives to fiberglass. It’s made from the extremely fine fibers of basalt stone which is itself composed of the minerals plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine. Because basalt fiber has such high thermal resistance, it’s often used for high-intensity applications such as those found within the aerospace industry.
B&W Fiberglass works with many partners in the aerospace industry, many of whom are heavily invested in the physio-mechanical properties of basalt fiber. Here are three applications in aerospace that make perfect sense for this high-performing material.
Application #1: Insulation
Basalt fiber’s most notable properties are its thermal stability and heat insulation. Companies around the globe are already investigating the use of basalt wool, mats, and blankets to minimize heat transfer for space-related applications, particularly engine covers. Basalt is naturally a product of volcanic activity, and its outstanding thermal properties make it an excellent resource for aerospace projects in locations that already possess a significant amount of the material, such as Hawaii. Because it is a natural stone, basalt is an inherently sustainable material.
Application #2: Basalt Fiber Plates
Basalt fiber plates (also referred to as “sheets”) are designed to provide structural reinforcement to jets and other aircraft. Made from basalt filaments fused with aero epoxy resins, the plates possess the unique quality of being flameproof. In addition to having a rigidity just higher than glass, basalt fiber sheets have a shock resistance that exceeds that of carbon fiber, one of the leading materials used in aerospace applications today.
Application #3: Composites
Basalt fiber composites are the perfect material for building low-weight, high-strength machinery. The material is already being implemented by commercial drone manufacturers to produce high-resistance, lightweight drones; basalt fiber has the added benefit of providing the properties of vibration absorption and non-conductivity. Because personal aircraft like drones are relatively likely to crash or land abruptly, impact resistance is key for creating a durable product.
Basalt fiber’s characteristics rely heavily on the quality of the stone itself. Unlike fiberglass, which is combined with several oxides and minerals during production, basalt fiber requires no secondary materials to produce. This means manufacturers have less direct control over the purity and consistency of any one batch of basalt fiber.
When producing basalt fiber, source quality matters. B&W Fiberglass has developed relationships with some of the premiere mineral providers on the planet – those relationships translate to known quality and consistency across lots.
Do you have technical questions about whether basalt fiber is a good choice for your application?
Are you unsure whether fiberglass or basalt makes more sense for your needs?